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James Smith


Coaches, consider what it takes for an athlete to reach national or international level success. what might you suggest to a young athlete who aspires one day to represent their nation or compete on a professional level?

The models on offer regard long-term athlete development (LTAD) which espouse a multi-lateral engagement in sport and the establishment of a broad set of skills and abilities that focus over time.

What if this standardized model, no matter how well intentioned, is dramatically flawed and quite different than what is actually optimal?

It's entirely uncontroversial to state that individualized teaching corresponds to optimal learning. Yet we see something much different happening in sport, at all levels.

Standardized modes of coaching/education invariably cater to mediocrity; as the high achievers are not challenged enough and those with different developmental needs lag behind.

Further, the notion of all young athletes participating in a variety of sports, no matter their psychological or biomechanical variability, is tantamount to encouraging a child with a speech pathology to just engage in as many social situations as they can to sort it out.

LTAD is, in my argument, a non-starter. Failed from the outset and what must supplant it is Long-Term Sport Development (LTSD) in which, from the earliest stages, competent coaching characterizes the optimal dosing of 'The Governing Dynamics of Coaching' in which every subject matter domain that governs sport coaching is addressed in the coaching.

According to my argument, the overriding, and objective, mandate for coaching competency is that any competent coach have an applied understanding of ‘The Governing Dynamics of Coaching’. Further, the criteria for understanding should be thought of as the successful defense of a thesis in which the coach is defending a thesis argument on each one of the ‘Governing Dynamics of Coaching’. In this way, the explanatory knowledge must serve to demonstrate a thesis defense level understanding of these knowledge domains that unequivocally govern the coaching of sport.

Working in derivative fashion from sports themselves as opposed to building up towards them on the basis of general qualities that are something much different than the qualities that actually underpin sport skills.

This is the "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching":

Listen to this podcast to hear Long-Term Sports Development being discussed:


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